2023 Updates to the Republic of the Marshall Islands Maritime Act

1 September 2023

The Nitijela passed several amendments to the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Act which entered into effect on 10 April 2023. Please review the amendments below taking special note of updates to § 119 regarding digital signatures, § 302 regarding the recordation of mortgages, and § 314 regarding on board mortgage documentation requirements.


119. Instrument or document form, signature, and delivery.

The Amendment provides for the ability of instruments and documents to be filed electronically with the RMI Maritime Administrator (the “Administrator”) and allows for the acceptance of manual, electronic, and digital signatures (including electronic or digital acknowledgements and notarizations). By Regulation, when submitting or recording an electronic or digital document or instrument such as a mortgage, only one electronic or digital copy is required, and no hard copies are required to be sent to the Administrator.

See Acceptance of Electronic or Digital Transmissions, Copies, and Signatures; Notarizations of Digitally Signed Documents (Marine Notice 1-0121-1).

225. New document.

The Amendment removes the requirement to attach the Bill of Sale to the Certificate of Registry.

302. Recording and contents.

The Amendment provides that a mortgage that states it shall only become valid and effective upon its recording, shall be valid and effective at the time of recording with the Administrator. This section was also amended to clarify that the Administrator will only record instruments that meet all recording requirements and that the time and date of recordation is kept.

304. Termination of mortgagee’s interest.

The Amendment grants the Administrator the authority to immediately strike a vessel engaged in illegal activity or actions against the interests of the RMI.

306. Bill of sale; recording.

The Amendment removes the requirement to attach the Bill of Sale to the Certificate of Registry, in line with the changes to § 225.

307. Mortgages; recording.

The Amendment clarifies the requirement of written proof or evidence of debt may be satisfied by attaching to the mortgage the documents evidencing such debt or by describing the terms of the debt in the mortgage, including the total amount.

309. Advances and repayments.

The Amendment clarifies advances or other value given pursuant to agreement.

314. Notice of Mortgage, Certificate of Registry; exhibition.

The Amendment removes the requirement to maintain a copy of a mortgage on board and only requires a Notice of Mortgage be maintained on board. 

510. The general limits.

The Amendment updates the limits of liability for maritime claims in line with changes made to the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC).